Some confusion has been voiced in recent years about the required score to pass the Water Treatment Operator certification exam in California. Simply stated, the solution is seventy percent. (Our apologies to Nicholas Meyer and Sherlock Holmes.) Allow us to provide you with the MOST clarity on this topic.
The exam has 100 questions, so it is logical to assume (sorry again, Sherlock) that you need only answer 70 questions to reach the 70 percent passing threshold. However, not all questions are created equal! The first 85 questions are worth one point each. The final 15 questions are the more difficult math questions, and they are worth two points each. So our 100 question test is actually worth 115 points!
To pass the certification exam, you need a score of at least seventy percent, and seventy percent of 115 is 80.5 points. However, the State does not award any partial credit, so this means you must score at least 81 points to pass. And that’s a lot more than 70!
The math problems pose the greater challenge to MOST of you examinees — except, of course, for those of you who have taken our MOST Water Math courses! So let’s examine a likely minimum score scenario for a typical examinee. Let’s say you can only struggle through and get seven of the fifteen math problems correct. You’re “toast,” right? Not so fast! That earns you 14 points. Now let’s subtract that from 81, and we see that you need to answer 67 of the first 85 (one-point) questions correctly to reach your 81 point total. That is slightly less than 80 percent of these questions.
So there is your seventy percent solution: get 80 percent of the non-math questions correct and only 50 percent of the math problems, and you will pass the exam!
And to help you get to that 80 percent level, make sure you check out our YouTube site — along with the nearly 2000 others that have visited there in the past month! — and try our five “Pop Quiz” type videos. Pay particular attention to the Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Total Coliform Rule videos, as these will be well represented on the State exam.
And if you don’t do well on those two Pop Quizzes, make sure you invest one hour and $10 on MOST courses WT-1 and/or WQ-5. Remember, you do need 80 percent on the non-math questions, so you need to have the SWTR and TCR mastered to reach your seventy percent solution.